Pastor of First Baptist Church of War...

Pastor of First Baptist Church of Warrenton indicted by a federal grand jury

There are 202 comments on the The McDuffie Mirror story from Sep 19, 2008, titled Pastor of First Baptist Church of Warrenton indicted by a federal grand jury. In it, The McDuffie Mirror reports that:

The pastor of a Warren County church has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of tax evasion.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The McDuffie Mirror.

Brother In Christ

Potomac, MD

#21 Nov 19, 2008
Ray Hope is "G-R-E-E-D-Y"......s elf-centered...its' all about himself! If you have ever been in a church where he has been the pastor...it's his way...or you else...and if you disagree or challenge him....he asks you to leave.

Ray Hope is "money hungry". He behaves in a manner unlike any man of God or Pastor that I have ever known. He is a disgrace to the calling. There is no other way to put it. I feel sorry for him, his wife, his family, and especially those who he has "duped" and "taken them for what he could get out of them."

Wake up Christian brothers & sisters, and see him for what he really is!
20 years

Arlington, VA

#22 Dec 1, 2008
Beware of Dr. Hope. I have been a member of one of his churches and very close to the congreation of another. I have PERSONALLY known him for over 20 years. EVERYTHING that is reported bad about him is true!! Except that it is worse than even the papers can describe him. He is a thief and a liar. What a shame a man with such talent and vision in the Word can become such a horrid human being. Run from him....quickly.
Brother in Christ

Potomac, MD

#23 Dec 1, 2008
It would be interesting to see if "brother Ray" is busy "shuffling" his money to keep it out of the eyes of the IRS. I am hopeful that the IRS is reading the posts on this website and maybe searching out the "shell companies" Otis Ray Hope has created in order to divert his funds from accounts held in the names of his family (children, wife, brother, extended family) as well as "bogus companies" he has created. It will be interesting to see how the Lord deals with him....even if Ray ends up wearing stripes and silver cuffs!

When I attended church where Otis Ray Hope was preaching, never once did he have an altar call. Never once did he ask if anyone needed to be saved to come to the altar and pray and ask Jesus into their heart. How sad......how very sad......
Worked for Ray

Glenside, PA

#24 Dec 11, 2008
Sad, but not surprised. When I worked directly under Ray at Montrose...my wife and I heard a lot of rumors about Ray's previous business dealings. We loved this guy. As a matter of fact, when my wife; my 3 month old baby were fired from the school and church,(of course, my baby wasn't fired..)and asked to move out of a home owned by the church, I contacted the person in charge of video taping, and requested to buy all of Ray's sermons. That is how much I loved, and admired this man. Yes, we asked Ray some personal questions on a Monday,... fired on Wednesday. I lost my wife over this...haven't seen my little daddy's girl in over 8 years...I forgive Ray...not that difficult to forgive someone if you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into forgiveness...How did Ray effect your life? Did you lose a child...a wife...??? I did! I have a right to have ill feelings toward him...I chose mercy and forgiveness. JR
Ray of Truth

Ville Platte, LA

#25 Dec 30, 2008
I served on staff with Ray in Baton Rouge and he was more interested in his material gain than his church's spiritual gain. I can say without a doubt that he made his own bed. He was guilty of the 1991 charges by the sec, I know 'cause I gave them a boat load of the information. He was using his position of trust to take advantage of people. now the world know what I have know all along...
You must be BLIND

Waldorf, MD

#26 Jan 2, 2009
Kari J Jones wrote:
Sad I say, sad! He was such a fine pastor... so sad!
He is not a good pastor he is a good salesmen
warrenton member

Aiken, SC

#27 Jan 14, 2009
have been a member at warrenton for over 30 years Mr Hope was an excellent speaker but he was all about $$$$$ I know for a fact he lied cheated decieved and stole from our church thank God he is gone now we can move forward . beware of this man a full fledged con man
Brother In Christ

Potomac, MD

#28 Jan 16, 2009
We as Christians, have a responsibility to expose people like Otis Ray Hope. He is a "wolf dressed in sheeps clothing." We don't have to judge him, as the Lord will do that, however we must stand up and let others know what "Brother Ray" has done. You cannot overlook the fact that he covets $$$$$, and his personal gain over the spiritual gain of any congregation he has been a pastor. He has also divided congregations; taken money from the church; taken complete control over the finances of a church; and much, much more. People have "cowered" to him, or been badgered by him to "conform" or else. It's time that we as Christians stand up and expose him.
anonymous

Irvington, AL

#29 Jan 23, 2009
I am a pastor's daughter and a pastor's wife. In all my years of dealing with the church I have found, as have many others, that our Christian brothers and sisters can be our harshest critics. I have had some relation with this family and love them dearly. I do not know the full extent of the story; nor do I know the family well enough to guess what wrongdoings were or were not done. I do know that whatever the case God is in control and He will ultimately judge each of us for our actions here on earth. As for the church being critical or judgmental it is their right. We as pastors and pastor's families are not perfect, but we are held to a higher standard. We stand in positions of leadership and people both Christian and non look to us for a Christ like example in our lives. My family has encountered dealings with ministers who are crooked and are in the ministry seemingly to serve only themselves. This is a sad truth. The church is not exempt from sin. Since we strive to live for the Lord Satan is only that much more interested in destroying the testimony that we have. I cannot judge guilt or innocence. That is between the man, the law, and the Lord. I will pray continually for his beautiful family and that they will be judged or aquitted accordingly and treated with God's love.
waterhorse

Louisville, KY

#30 Feb 2, 2009
I have never met an honest politician or an honest Baptist Preacher!
Brother In Christ

Potomac, MD

#31 Mar 16, 2009
Well...Ray Hope should be going to trail soon, if he hasn't already in a court of law with the IRS for filing false tax returns. It will be interesting to see how much the IRS has on him...and if they have found the money that he has in off-shore bank accounts...in the names of family members or ficticious company names.
Interested Reader

Parrish, FL

#32 Apr 2, 2009
Please let the Hope family alone as they have suffered enough especially the children of Ray. He is a wonderful speaker and I'm sure he has brought others to Christ. Give him that credit.
Writing letters that defame his character does not mean that he is guilty of everything everyone says. Rumors have a way, if repeated enough, is taken for the truth. I have known him for years and he is a good person but has made mistakes just as all of us have done. Pray for him ..that's what Jesus would say.
Interested Reader

Parrish, FL

#33 Apr 2, 2009
waterhorse wrote:
I have never met an honest politician or an honest Baptist Preacher!
I think you are mean spirited to make a statement like that. "Judge not lest you be judged."
Long ago at Montrose

Apex, NC

#34 Apr 8, 2009
My Husband and I were active members at Montrose Baptist Church when Otis Ray Hope took over as Pastor. Hubby and I were youth Sunday School teachers for years. As soon as Ray came in, a division occurred; he made it very clear you either had to follow his every idea, or you would be dismissed. When Ray wanted to start messing around with the times of our Sunday School class - to relieve the parking situation no less - we protested. The new times would not work for our students, many of whom had jobs and sports to attend. We chose to stand in the gap for them - and we lost our class. We were not even allowed to say good-bye or explain what had happened to our class (BTW, Ray's son Michael was in our class at the time). We were not the only ones. There were many people who had their ministries, vital and on-going to the community for YEARS, stripped from them - Ray actually tried to have these people voted out from the church.(He got a rude awakening when he realized that the congregation would not do it). Needless to say, he is not one to promote unity but division - is this what you would want from your pastor? Would you want to inflict heartache on your church? My husband and I met at Montrose, I got baptized (as an adult), he asked me to marry him on the pulpit, and we married there. We had a vital ministry to the youth. We were devastated. My husband would not step foot back in the church. We did return when we heard about the vote since we were still members. People started leaving the church in droves. Meanwhile, even the associate pastor's wife pulled their children from the school! BTW, the suicide incident that was stated in another post here did not mention one important fact: the man was talking to Ray on the phone at the time he ended his life. I also know personally several marriages that broke up over Ray's lack of compassion for the congregation. It was a time of severe hurt and chaos in many, many lives. He did nothing to unify, only destroy. We found out later he and his wife both had lied on the Pastor application where it asked if they were sound financially - they said yes when in reality they had filed for bankruptcy. There were also SEC charges pending against him from a corporation he had with his brother. We were long gone when he finally resigned as Pastor at Montrose, amid accusations of money that the school never received from him. Meanwhile, mysteriously, he had money to buy and remodel Shiloh in Hagerstown, MD.
I will pray for Otis. I will pray that God will end his reign of terror on unsuspecting congregations and stop the fleecing of His flock. I will pray that all those who have been hurt by this man will heal and not blame God for their heartache. I will pray for Otis' children because they will suffer long and deeply for his actions. And I will pray for his wife to finally have a backbone and leave this man for the sake of her children. May God bless you as you heal if you have been hurt like we have. And keep your eyes riveted on God and God alone, not on the sinful man who is supposed to deliver His word.
Interested Reader

Parrish, FL

#35 Apr 8, 2009
I keep getting e-mails saying that someone has responded to this website when, in fact, they haven't. Even my blog in defense of Pastor Ray is not showing. Can you explain this?
Interested Reader

Parrish, FL

#36 Apr 8, 2009
I apologize for my error. I didn't realize there were 2 pages to these blogs. What I was trying to say in an earlier blog was that saying these things about Pastor Ray doesn't help salve the hurt that his family is going through, especially after reading these comments. I don't know why the Warrenton Church didn't do their homework before hiring him as their pastor. Most Churches are very thorough when it comes to hiring someone as important as a Pastor.
Regarding the man who shot himself, how does Pastor Ray fit into the picture? The man had a lot of problems and carried a lot of baggage and the Pastor was trying to help him. If someone is determined to end their life, there isn't much you can do. He wasn't sitting in front of the Pastor like some of the blogs made it out to be.
That is what I was trying to say earlier ... that when a lie is told over and over it soon becomes the truth. Every day someone takes their own life, sometimes in front of their loved ones. This should not be considered the Pastor's fault any more than the onlookers fault.
Pastor Hope has a lot of problems, as do we all, and I hope he will never again try to pastor another Church. We need to pray that he will find his niche in life for his family's sake. God forgives and it is time for us to forgive.
Long ago at Montrose

Apex, NC

#37 Apr 8, 2009
To: Interested reader,

Let me ask you something - do you believe Jesus really walked this earth? Do you believe He spoke the words recorded in the Bible? Why? It is the truth because the people who walked with Jesus every day wrote these things down. It's called being an eye-witness to events that took place. These posts are not fabricated and perpetuated over and over. I lived them. So did others from Montrose Baptist Church who posted here. They are all true. If you do not believe us, that is your choice; but do not try to invalidate or shame us if you choose to turn a blind eye. That is exactly what Otis is hoping for - not to be held accountable for his actions. If anyone is perpetuating lies - it's him. Not us. BTW, where is your compassion for all the people who have been victimized by him? Had their churches ripped apart? Had their faith rattled to its core?
Interested Reader

Parrish, FL

#38 Apr 9, 2009
To "Long ago at Montrose" I certainly believe that Jesus walked this earth. The words recorded in the Bible were "God breathed" not "man breathed." Do you agree? Man can get facts wrong and telling the same story over and over can be mistrued, as has been proven time and time again.
When someone first told me the story of the man who shot himself, I was led to believe that the man was sitting in Ray's office. Now I'm told they were on the phone talking. That is one example of a rumor in this case.
I'm reading in the blogs where marriages broke up because of Ray at MONTROSE. Let's get to the crux of that story. Marriages don't break up unless it is for reasons with one another. It's a "cop out" to blame a Pastor. What are the facts?
I was a member of Montrose when Pastor Crowley was there. I kept in touch with many of the people for years after that. If you will read my blogs, you will find that I am writing about forgiveness and sparing the family from this nightmare, in which they are victims also. You ask me where my compassion is for all the people who have been victimized by him. My answer is that their faith should NEVER be in the pastor. It should be in Jesus Christ and forgiveness should be in our hearts. "Vengeance is mine saith the Lord." Do you believe His word? It seems to me that people are trying to get their revenge instead of letting God handle Pastor Ray.
Enumerator

Chicago, IL

#39 Apr 9, 2009
Let's talk about facts and dispense with the false accusation of spreading rumors.

I too was at Montrose, as early as 1977, getting to know Pastor Crowley very well both at 5100 Randolph Rd and Summit Lake Camp.

Crowley did indeed preach grace & forgiveness, but he was also well known for preaching "Your Sin Will Find You Out" among other sermons describing God's judgments; including those issued upon voracious shepherds Ezekiel 34.

I was also at Montrose when Otis Ray Hope was elected. No mention was made of his SEC entanglement (91-3089), nor of his submission of a voluntary petition for chapter 7 bankruptcy (96-11562), nor the 5/24/95 State of the Church Address toComite Baptist that included certain tax & financial problems facing Hope's former employer.

With such facts, I doubt a congregation well schooled in 1 Timothy 34, would have so willingly elected this Biblically unqualified charismatic orator - saving itself from a string of Hope-inspired divisive distractions - starting with the the landmark "Montrose Christian School v. Walsh."

The church was further divided when individuals heading-up long standing & successful ministries were dismissed for offering even the slightest disagreement. Insidiously, dismissals were executed by sycophantic surrogates seeking to be part of Reverend Hope's 'tiered leadership'- what others might call insulation.

This pattern repeated, coming to a head in an event described in the Apr 26, 1997 Washington Post where 19 days prior a "disciplinary meeting" was called in which the congregation was asked to vote to "withdraw" the membership of 8 laypersons - some of whom felt Hope had some responsibility for Lenny Ambrose's Mar 22, 1997 suicide.

Though the congregation refused to cast these members out, they didn't follow-up with a similar examination of the shepherd that lead them down this path of division.

Instead, Montrose's misguided pastoral loyalty led to a scene described in the Jan 24, 1998 Washington Post. On Jan 7, 1998, in response to a Mongtomery Journal article exposing his SEC entanglement, Hope effectively divided his church, asking supporters pastor to come forward. The WaPo article goes on to quote a long-standing member observing an associate pastor taking names of those who didn't go forward.

The SEC revelation resulted in a Jan 31, 1998 deacon's meeting in which a 3/4 inch thick stack of court & financial documents were presented. Unfortunately on Feb 7, 1998 the deacons elected to keep the pastor by a 16-11 vote; a number of the 11 subsequently left.

This set the table for a far more divisive & bankrupting event reported in the Dec 18, 2002 Washington Post where "Rev. Ray Hope, owes the church's school more than $580,000." An interesting amount in light of an Oct. 30, 2008 Herald-Mail report stating "When Hope came toHagerstown [in 2001], Shiloh Ministries paid $500,000 in cash for the former YMCA building, according to a deed at the Washington County Courthouse."

Though the issue led to Otis Ray Hope's resignation, it still took a Montrose couple of years of wandering in the wilderness before returning to the promised land - that is until Hope-installed leaders stepped-down.

So when I read blogs about forgiveness, sparing, compassion & victimization, I wonder how much less there would have been to forgive and how much all families would have been spared had Comite Baptist, exposed light on such darkness? Likewise, how much 1st Baptist of Warrenton could have been compassionately spared victimization had Montrose warned others of a shepherd whom fed upon his sheep?

Finally, I wonder if Otis Ray Hope could have been spared his current IRS indictment had either Montrose or Comite shown some of the tough, Hebrews 12 love?
Enumerator

Chicago, IL

#40 Apr 10, 2009
Well it may be time to move on from Hebrews 12 to Hebrews 13:3 ...

... as yesterday the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reported an AP release entitled "Brothers face fraud charges for ministry loan."

The story reports that a federal grand jury in Baltimore Otis Ray Hope and Richard Wayne Hope of bank fraud and conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors are reported to say the pair falsely told bank officials that the Shiloh Conference and Retreat Center had reopened for business when it had not and submitted fraudulent financial statements overstating assets and cash flow when seeking a $1.75 million loan.

Prosecutors say the pair, who also face tax evasion charges, face up to 30 years in prison on the bank fraud counts.

Another reminder for churches to seek guidance in 1 Timothy 3:4&5 (which is what I meant in my earlier post when I typo'd 1Tim34!-)...

... as well as to church leaders to warn their brothers and sisters in Christ of those who persist such behavior; as instructed in 1 Timothy 5:20.

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